Veteran services

A Winters resident was renamed undersecretary for Veterans Services

Governor Gavin Newsom recently reappointed a Winters resident to the position of Undersecretary of Veterans Services at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Keith Boylan has held the position since 2013, when he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Prior to his appointment, Boylan served as Government Relations Liaison for the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies (CAVSA), a group of nonprofit veteran service providers serving the needs of California veterans.

Boylan is no stranger to the military, veterans service organizations and advocacy.

At the age of 19, Boylan enlisted in the military and served on active duty between 1989 and 1992. He joined the military to enjoy GI Bill college benefits and to have the opportunity to be stationed in Germany.

Upon completion of his military training to become a tactical fire specialist, Boylan was deployed from his duty station in Augsburg, Germany to Iraq. There he served with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm – where he saw combat – and Desert Calm.

After his release from active duty, Boylan took advantage of his GI Bill benefits and attended San Francisco State University where he earned a degree in film. After graduating, he used his talents as a filmmaker and engaged in advocacy work for Veterans for Peace (VFP), a global organization of veterans fighting for peace.

Boylan’s work with VFP included work on the Iraq Water Project in the city of Basra in southern Iraq. Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed during the war and the project was set up to provide clean and sustainable water to the Iraqi people in the Al Khaseeb Valley. He also traveled to Vietnam with other VFP veterans to build a medical center in the town of My Lia, near the site of the My Lia massacre.

Boylan has worked with Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit service organization dedicated to defending veterans’ rights. There he advocated for health care and compensation for veterans who suffered health effects from toxic exposures while serving, including atomic testing, Agent Orange and munitions exposures. with depleted uranium.

Boylan and his wife Amaris, a biochemist, lived in Seville, Spain and Ireland before returning to California for the birth of their son Terence in 2002. They moved to Winters in 2005 shortly before the birth of their son Kenneth.

Having been raised in the Bay Area, he said they were drawn to the “small town community” that Winters offers. After moving to Winters, he noted that there were still generations of farming families residing here. It seemed to confirm that Winters was a good place to live and raise a family. His family roots are in Ireland and he appreciated how the Winters families had such deep roots in the town.

Boylan is a first generation American. His parents immigrated from Ireland to the United States and settled in Richmond where Boylan and his two siblings were raised. Her father worked for Berkeley Farms and her mother was a homemaker.

When he’s not working, Boylan enjoys traveling to Europe, but laments that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his ability to do so. However, he continues to travel for work as he oversees the delivery of services to the 1.7 million veterans throughout California.